A DNV-led joint industry project (JIP) with 15 customers targets the economy and technical challenges in hydrogen transport from production facilities, to speed use of hydrogen as a low- and zero-carbon gas in the energy transition towards meeting Paris agreement targets.
With energy sector investment decisions and governmental policies worldwide aimed at accelerating the use of hydrogen as a clean energy carrier, engineers must overcome barriers, such as the gas embrittling steel pipes, while reducing the cost of hydrogen.
Thermoplastic composite pipe
One alternative, thermoplastic composite pipe (TCP), has a polymeric inner liner, fibre-reinforced polymeric laminate, and an outer jacket. Compared with steel, TCP is corrosion-free without hydrogen embrittlement; has a higher strength to weight ratio; and is spoolable, making it easier to transport and install.
While the case for TCP for this purpose sounds compelling, its utilization in the hydrogen economy will depend ultimately on the cost and risk relative to steel pipelines. In one of the JIP's work packages, DNV is halfway through a techno-economic study on onshore and offshore green and blue hydrogen production, comparing the cost of metallic and high-pressure, non-metallic pipeline infrastructures.
"We simulate the supply chain and ask, 'what are the total costs of ownership of the steel and TCP pipeline infrastructures for large-scale hydrogen production?'", Ramin Moslemian, project manager and technical lead for the JIP, explaines.
"We also see the effect of the choice of infrastructure on the cost per kilogramme of hydrogen produced. Hydrogen industry has to reduce the cost wherever possible, to make hydrogen competitive as an energy carrier for the energy transition. Pipeline infrastructure, especially offshore, constitutes a non-negligible part of this cost."
This economic analysis is reinforcing DNV's thought leadership and technical services on alternative high pressure non-metallic pipelines and their safe, cost-effective application in the oil and gas industry for a variety of uses along the value chain (e.g. risers in offshore production).
A second work package in the JIP focuses on risk management of high-pressure non-metallic pipelines for hydrogen transport. DNV's JIP team has had extensive discussions and risk assessment workshops with all partners from across the supply chain, including material suppliers, pipe makers, and users such as Shell and Equinor. This work package, which is halfway through, will lead to a draft DNV recommended practice that, the team hopes, will become an official document setting out the requirements for design and qualification of high pressure non-metallic hydrogen pipelines.